Freewrite 5: Lauren DGAF + I need to read more.


I have been doing this thing where I just talk to people I want to talk to. 

You're probably like "Uh Lauren, you would talk to a rock if it talked back...that's nothing new..." to which I would say you're right. But I mean, I have some limitations. Celebrities. Potential online friends. Boys I think are attractive. People who are good at things that I want to be good at. Etc. 

I think we all have a list of people that we are like "I am just going to admire them from afar and leave them alone and that is fine with me." That's generally a good rule, but I am in a phase of life someone recently called Lauren DGAF and it's actually kind of been awesome. 

What do I have to lose? That's the thing I am learning. Like literally what do I have to lose?

Here's what I know: I am friendly. I am mildly interesting. I am a good conversationalist. I have thoughts and opinions about stuff. So why wouldn't someone want to talk with me? What harm could reaching out and starting a conversation have? 

I realize this might be a pointless topic for those who are not as wildly extroverted as myself - but I think it's a good challenge in some capacity for everyone. I have made some great friends by simply walking up to them and saying "hi." I have gotten to connect with some people I consider celebrities (broadway stars, indie actors, writers, etc.) because I sent them a quick DM. They are people too, people!

But don't get me wrong, I also have some embarrassing stories about how they looked at me like I was a freak or how I accidentally said something really weird and they probably think I am crazy.

But the point is, just freaking reach out to people. In social media land and in the real world. Be a human that connects with other humans.


Also I have been very convicted that I don't read as much as I used to. My friend Luke is a super smart English teacher who reads all the time and he was telling me that the most annoying thing to him is when a girl he goes on a date with says "reading" is a hobby but then she cannot tell him a book she's read recently. Um. Stop shaming me, Luke. Ok, I know I have approximately one billion books in my library that I have not read. No need to remind me through your anecdotes. 

But I really do like reading. So I should do it! Does anyone have a method that they employ to read more? This girl (coincidentally that I just reached out to on Instagram because I think she's cool and I wanted to be her friend) is like the most crazy active reader and she does this challenge every year and I kind of think I want to do something like that but I don't know if it's too much. Also how about that run-on sentence guys? Yowza. 

I just realized that anyone who reads this is probably like 1. cancel Netflix 2. stop blogging about your feelings and 3. just read more. 

You're right. Rude (ish), but right. 

Ok, that's the timer. 

Freewrite 4: Small Victories + Diving In + How I Solved A Mystery

I got good news from the doctor today. I haven't had this disease for a long time, and I know it's mild compared to other chronic illnesses, but I do know it's vital to celebrate the small victories. I haven't lost much weight, and to be 100% honest I still am figuring out the whole "eating healthy" and "exercise" routine (argh. why can I be one of those girls who has no taste for pizza and loves cycling 3 times a day.), but my A1C levels are lower. And that's good. 

I got a London Fog with almond milk at my favorite coffee shop to celebrate. 

Small victories. 

I also think I am going to give God a try again. 

That sounded more dramatic than I meant it too. What I really meant is that I am going to dive in like I haven't in...years. Maybe since seminary. Maybe since before that. Who knows. I have always really loved Jesus. I have always believed He was real, and thought it was important to have a relationship with Him. I have always had a relationship with Him. It's just been one of those one-sided I really only chat with ya when it's convenient for me kinds of relationships as of late. 

I had a conversation with my dad at lunch last week, and he was frustrated with me because I basically said I don't trust God. That's not true, well, not fully true. There are a few things in my life that I fully trust God with. But, there are other things that I would rather just control, thank you. That's not good, I know it. My dad told me that I would never be happy and nothing would change as long as I am trying to control it. Rude. I can make things happen for myself - as evidenced by lots of things in my life. 

But then I started thinking about it, and I realized that I often give myself credit for things that God clearly did. I won't list them out here - but I think that pretty much everything that's happened in my life has been because God guided me or prompted me. This gets a little dicey because I don't know what "hearing from God" really sounds like these days or whether or not God directed me to make some choices that ended up being SUPER painful...but I think those are maybe just questions that literally all followers of Jesus have. None of us know the answers. 

So I basically think I am just going to give all the stuff I used to do a try again. 100%. Because I need hope. I need something to cling onto rather than the bullshit that clogs my Facebook feeds, or the arguments everyone is getting in about everything. I need something to make me happy - and I know that's not what God is all about (MA in Theology hasn't gone to that much waste) - but I do remember a time when I was much happier. It was when I was reading my bible and studying theology and praying and asking hard questions. I've dipped toes into that in recent years, but I have stayed safely on the ledge. My cynical, safe, ledge that I control. 

What a cliche Christian metaphor - diving in. But it works. So that's that. I'll give it a go. I think it's about time. 

On to something less "millennial existential crises-y" - I solved a mystery this week. I got in a hit and run on Friday and it was terrible. But, I found the car that hit me on Sunday! Call me Olivia freaking Benson. I was so proud of myself. Anyway - I hope this means insurance will pay for stuff and I won't have to drive Ellie around looking all ghetto for a long time. 

There's the timer. 



My friend Paul is a terrific writer, and does a "Friday Freewriting" exercise that I decided to steal. I will try to do it once a week. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write. Who knows what will come out. Then, I'll edit for mistakes and post. Easy. 

Freewrite 3: Insecure, Further Perils of Online Dating, White-Splaining, and How I Complain Too Much.

Lots of people told me I would love the show Insecure on HBO. I watched it. I didn't love it, I really didn't even like it. I just resonated with parts of it. There's a character who is using dating apps, and her struggles are all too real. Men who just one want thing. Men who don't know what they want. Becoming the crazy girl I swore I'd never become...ugh all too real. She called it a numbers game. "You have to f*ck a lot of frogs to find your prince" she said. It's a bit crude for my taste, but it's kind of true. I have essentially started viewing men on dating apps as experiences on my path to true relational fulfillment. That's kind of a bleak thing to coprehend. I also say "this is just practice" or "this is just for the book" - which at first was utter bullshit. I wanted to find someone. I still do. But it's so crystal clear that I will not do that by swiping on some person I do not even slightly know. So now, it's true. When I'm bored, I swipe, I get a date, I learn something about myself (usually) and then I'm back to the drawing board. 

It's not a sustainable system, I know. But it's reality. Hopefully one day it won't be. Ok, Lauren. Let's talk about something other than your failures in the dating world...

I also resonated with the main character's struggle to be taking seriously in her thoughts and beliefs about black people and culture - even though she's somewhat "white-washed" and "not from the hood" (or at least that is how she is portrayed). I went to see a play the other night with some friends and it was focused around a black man's experience with the police. It was heart-wrenching, and frankly was a little much for me to process, but one thing that was profoundly clear, is that there are white people in my world that think they can fully empathize and articulate what it's like to be black or non-white. Like, I have a friend (for the sake of this conversation, it's important to note that she's white) who has two black sons. In the post-show discussion, she shared that she has to educate her sons about certain things like police brutality and she has to be extra careful with them. At night, they can't be outside (I mean...because they are kids) and especially not playing with any toys that resemble guns because...well...the police can't really tell the difference and they are black and that's just a bad combination. My parents had similar conversations with my brothers, I'm sure. 

Another lady, who frankly had been shooting off her mouth in such an unbelievably oblivious way the whole night, said "I have to do that for my (white) grandchildren too!" and then I just couldn't. 

REALLY LADY? You have to educate your white grandchildren about a system that is fundamentally prejudiced against them? NO CHANCE. That's white privilege in full-force, not understanding or accepting that some things are just different for you because of the color of your skin. Ugh. Infuriating. That was not a very good dissection of this anecdote, and frankly I am pretty terrible still at expressing all my thoughts about race and such. But this woman pushed me over the edge. She doesn't get it. She never will. And lots of well-meaning white people still look at me and talk to me like they get my experience in some sort of "higher" or "better" way than I do. One thing I am thankful for is that the friend with the two black sons never talks to me like she knows better. Because she knows she doesn't. I know she raises her kids like that too. It's refreshing. But it's rare. Like "man-splaining" is a thing - I kind of think "white-splaning" is also a thing. Maybe I'll unpack that more later.

I've realized as I do these freewrites that it's just lots of complaining. I want to get better about that. It's what is currently circling around in my head though - the tensions. I need to get serious about mindfulness and positive thinking, I think. Maybe then what comes out will be more profound or rich. I might also try this in a public place, so I can pick up on some of the surrounding activities happening. Pontificate about other people or something like that. Get out of my own head as a writer, for once.

There's the timer.




My friend Paul is a terrific writer, and does a "Friday Freewriting" exercise that I decided to steal. I will try to do it once a week. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write. Who knows what will come out. Then, I'll edit for mistakes and post. Easy. 

Freewrite 2: New Year, No Goals.

I am a person who says she thrives in the "new." I like to think that I am inclined to the natural resets of my universe - a birthday, the new year, the start of fall. I often set goals or choose words and make choices about the way I am going to spend my time and energy because I think that if I plan enough, I can get it done. 

I spent a moment looking back at 2016's goals and I just had to sit with the fact that it wasn't a really pretty picture. 

Sometimes I keep my goals. I worked hard to transition jobs last year. I did a few more music related things I was proud of. I traveled to a few new places. I saw lots and lots of shows and concerts. I was authentic in a new church community and in my writing. Lots of good stuff. Not all of them were goals I had personally set for myself at the start of the year - but I did something that improved something. So there ya go. 

But I noticed, with goals that are more important to me and frankly, for my well-being, I had a far worse track record. I still have not applied for PhD programs. I still have not got my finances under control. I weigh about the same and am in worse health than before. I am behind on the book. I still say "yes" to far too many things. I can't remember the last time I cracked open the Bible unless it was for a Small Group related activity or during a church service. There are more failures, but it doesn't matter at this point. All those goals at the start of the year. All that planning. A failure.

Needless to say, when I looked at making "resolutions" or "setting goals" this year - I was more cynical of myself. And with good reason - I am bad at keeping promises to myself. Another contradiction I suppose because I can cross things off the work task-list like no one's business, but when it comes to my own development or passions - I just can't make it work. Why do I consider myself such a goal-oriented person? What proof backs that up in my life? I've always been such a "go-getter" but maybe I'm caving under the pressure of living up to that title. 


I didn't set any goals this year. Well, that's a lie. I said I'd finish my book. And I have to do that, because dating apps are only going to be relevant for another few years, and I need to get in on that market while it's hot. But that's the only one, and that was a goal before the New Year, so I am not really counting it.

Will I attempt to add value to the world and be a good person and be smarter in my decisions about all the things I should be...sure. It's more like - I have no limits, but I also have no requirements. No goals with measurable success.. No accountability partners or progress reports or seasonal check-ins. If I haven't had much success for the last 20 something years on that front, perhaps it's time to give up on it for a while. I think that maybe getting out of my planning brain and just living my life might be the thing I need to actually make changes. 

Here's to a resolution/goal/intention free year. 



My friend Paul is a terrific writer, and does a "Friday Freewriting" exercise that I decided to steal. I will try to do it once a week. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write. Who knows what will come out. Then, I'll edit for mistakes and post. Easy. 

Freewrite 1: Lauren the contradiction

I am sitting here alone in a cozy home wrapped in a furry robe my dad got me for Christmas. I am an extrovert, so being alone is not my favorite thing. I used to to think it was because I got my energy from people so it's debilitating to be by myself for long periods of time. 

But I've spent lots of time alone, more than usual I'd say over the past few months, and I am starting to realize that it's not the energy that I am lacking. It's the distraction. I'm a question-asker. I can sit at a table with someone and talk about them for the entire time. Now, of course this isn't a bad thing in general. I wouldn't brag about my listening skills, so don't think I am saying I never talk about myself. We all know that's not true. But I do think that if I'm honest, I often use other people's lives and problems and stories as a way to avoid my own. 

It's hard because I want to be a person who is emotionally stable and mature. I want to be the person that I project - someone who has it together and can handle a lot, a lot. 

I am those things often. 

But sometimes, and especially in the last few months, I have not been that person. 

Someone once told me you are 10 different people in your 20s. I think they meant it to be comforting or encouraging or exhilarating. 

That's positively horrifying to me. 

How exhausting - to change 10 times (10 is an arbitrary number, I know. I think I'm well on my way though...). I feel the fatigue of it, though. 

I dive wholeheartedly into things. Which is once again, a good thing in general. But it also enables me to leave other, less "interesting," things by the wayside in pursuit of something "better." But I'm learning I can't trust my own instincts all the time. They want to cash in on those 10 different lifestyles. They want me to put my heart into something because that is just what I do. But when you put your heart into something, it takes a piece of it. Whether it's successful or not, you've invested. That is sometimes a great thing - but for me - it's been a detrimental thing. I feel like I have little heart left to put into something. 


That's scary. 

How do you get heart back? How do you get sense of clarity and purpose back? How do you claim an identity for yourself when you've spread yourself so thin that you really don't have a true concept of yourself? These are the big, annoying questions I think people hate when millennials ask - they are like "Ok, person who has been handed so much in life, stop pondering everything and just contribute to society. Not everything has to be so hard and you don't have to dissect every part of life looking for something that isn't there." These are those questions. Eye-roll. I should just read one of the countless books written to help me find my way and call it a day. Oh wait, I have. Ha. 

So I'm asking them. I'm cashing in my millennial, confused, I sort of don't know what the hell I am doing card. 

Another compliment someone gave me is also something that haunts me. He asked me "what does it feel like to be good at lots of things?" Which is a very, very nice thing to say. Don't read into this and think I am bragging. 

He's right though, I am good at lots of stuff. I am a natural learner, and frankly, just a good faker. So even if I'm not GREAT at something, I can sure pretend I am. This is also a good thing, in general. But it goes back to my problem. There's so many things I think I could pursue with my whole-heart. How come I've never done music? Or quit everything to really dedicate time to writing? Or gone back to school to get my PhD and teach? Or become a mom? Or become a true pastor? Or become an Executive at a company? Like, why are none of those things my current reality? Why didn't I dive into them with my whole heart for a long period of time? 

I am a contradiction. I am half-in/half-out with nearly everything in life. But I also put my whole heart into things in such a way that leaves me exhausted and restless for energy. 

This is why being alone is a scary thing for me. I am left alone in this wormhole with my thoughts. Yikes. 



My friend Paul is a terrific writer, and does a "Friday Freewriting" exercise that I decided to steal. I will try to do it once a week. Set the timer for 15 minutes and write. Who knows what will come out. Then, I'll edit for mistakes and post. Easy.